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The Press - Escape - - ESCAPE 5 -

The com­men­tary from train staff about points of in­ter­est is lively and in­for­ma­tive. The views are spec­tac­u­lar, too, es­pe­cially while cross­ing sev­eral viaducts along the route, the high­est be­ing the Stair­case (73 me­tres high). We ar­rive back in Christchurch around 6.10pm, tired but sat­is­fied with the day’s ad­ven­tur­ing.

Laws spent 30 years in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, much of that man­ag­ing ho­tels, and set up MX5 Tour­ing South Is­land be­cause he wanted to be chal­lenged again.

‘‘I bought my first one (MX5) when I was man­ag­ing a ho­tel in Christchurch. We de­cided to buy one to use while we were here. They are a great car to drive.’’ Laws and his wife moved back to Christchurch per­ma­nently last year.

All up, Laws has owned nine MX5s and he has six in his MX5 Tour­ing South Is­land sta­ble. ‘‘It is a car that is in­cred­i­bly re­li­able, parts are easy to come by and it’s built as a sports car. They are a fun car to drive. Driv­ing one puts a smile on peo­ple’s faces.’’

His busi­ness is tar­get­ing the north­ern hemi­sphere mar­ket – ‘‘their win­ter is our sum­mer’’ – and MX5 own­ers, in par­tic­u­lar, of­fer­ing eight, nine and 11-day tours of the South Is­land (tours in­clude all meals ex­cept for one din­ner), ac­com­mo­da­tion and, of course, the MX5 to drive. A sup­port van fol­lows the cars with lug­gage.

Laws sees the tours as a ‘‘bucket list type of thing’’.

‘‘For some­one who has never driven a sports car, here’s their chance,’’ he says. He’s also look­ing at start­ing day trips from Christchurch: Arthur’s Pass, Akaroa, those sorts of places.

I now have one less thing to cross off my bucket list.

West Coast pause: Pu­nakaiki beach lures Maz­daMX5en­thu­si­asts.

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